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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Willie Mays

Eligible in 1979.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 11, 2006 at 11:10 PM | 110 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 11, 2006 at 11:13 PM (#2060432)
With military credit, he might just be a HoMer, though a borderliner, of course.

;-)
   2. rico vanian Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2060537)
Good little player. Started and ended his career with two "miracle comeback" teams. (51 Giants/73 Mets).
   3. Flynn Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:51 AM (#2060539)
I don't know. I go back and forth on him. I mean, what are 7095 putouts these days? 660 home runs? Anybody can do that!

I need to be convinced.
   4. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2060541)
He sucks.

Next!
   5. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: June 12, 2006 at 01:09 AM (#2060550)
I was browsing his stat page to look for some statistical weakness (SB%, strikeouts, GIDP, or something) to joke about, but there aren't any. I mean, damn.
   6. Ardo Posted: June 12, 2006 at 01:23 AM (#2060568)
So... Mays or Mantle? I cast my vote for Mays.
   7. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 12, 2006 at 01:32 AM (#2060582)
So... Mays or Mantle? I cast my vote for Mays.


Mays for career, Mantle for peak.

-- MWE
   8. Chris Dial Posted: June 12, 2006 at 02:00 AM (#2060622)
It's been mentioned around - if you plan to de-Merit McGwire, should Mays be similarly docked?

Now, Mays is a slam dunker anyway, but does the recent PED usage in MLB alter the idea of PED use by Mays?
   9. OCF Posted: June 12, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#2060632)
Chris Dial: are you trying to cause trouble? Because I'm not looking for trouble. He performed as the record shows he performed under the conditions that prevailed at the time. We'll judge him for that, as a baseball player.
   10. Jeff K. Posted: June 12, 2006 at 02:15 AM (#2060634)
Chris Dial: are you trying to cause trouble?

I don't think he is. Other than things like "Mantle or Mays?", which are the equivalent of "Ginger or MaryAnn?", what else is there really to discuss about his candidacy?
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 12, 2006 at 02:21 AM (#2060641)
With military credit, he might just be a HoMer, though a borderliner, of course.

I don't know. I go back and forth on him.

Jeez, who IS this guy????
   12. Chris Dial Posted: June 12, 2006 at 02:27 AM (#2060654)
Chris Dial: are you trying to cause trouble? Because I'm not looking for trouble. He performed as the record shows he performed under the conditions that prevailed at the time. We'll judge him for that, as a baseball player.

Why would that cause trouble? Your subsequent comment indicates you have no intention of demeriting McGwire, so your answer is "No."
   13. DavidFoss Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2060742)
Ah... so this is the guy that Willie Mays Aikens and Willie Mays Eyre are named after. Not to mention Willie Mays Hayes as well.

I must suppress the urge to give Aikens/Eyre/Hayes credit to Mays... ;-)
   14. OCF Posted: June 12, 2006 at 07:29 AM (#2060847)
My scaled RCAA (with bonuses) offense-only system says Cobb > Mantle > Mays > Speaker. But: Mays has a career length edge over Mantle, and then there's the whole NL-was-the-tougher-league bit (not to mention Cobb not having to share his league with Charleston and Torriente) and then there's defense. Good thing I don't actually have to rank them.

The movie The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (and I haven't seen it in many years) mashed together several different times in Negro League history. None of its fictional characters were exactly anyone real, but some of them conjured up echos: Bingo Long (Billy Dee Williams) an echo of Satchel Paige, the James Earl Jones character an echo of Josh Gibson. There was one character there - very, very young, discovered on a town team they barnstormed against, and a transcendently wonderful centerfielder. At the end of the movie, a couple of white scouts are talking to this character wanting to sign him. That was a fictional character, not meant to be anyone real - but I heard the echo of Willie Mays.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 11:50 AM (#2060873)
Jeez, who IS this guy????

:-D
   16. TomH Posted: June 12, 2006 at 11:57 AM (#2060878)
A big Hank Aaron friend of mine always brings up the fact that Mays never led his league in RBI. Of course, there are many small reasons that come together to create this (batted 3rd and sometimes leadoff, usually Giants 1 and 2 hitters stunk, and a few years someone else just had a great single season), but it's an odd piece of trivia nonetheless.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:02 PM (#2060883)
It's been mentioned around - if you plan to de-Merit McGwire, should Mays be similarly docked?

Now, Mays is a slam dunker anyway, but does the recent PED usage in MLB alter the idea of PED use by Mays?


Well, we know he didn't use them when he broke out in the Fifties. Does his later career indicate a spike during the Sixties (when greenies were starting to make their presence known in the clubhouse)? Not really.

It's actually a good question though, Chris. While I still think greenies and the spitball are in a different category than steroids, we shouldn't just ignore the former if we want to be consistent with the latter.

Of course, Mays is a HOMer, regardless. As "no-brainer" as one can be,

BTW, I'm strongly urging everyone not to set up the usual Wild West show that pops up about PEDs on the Newsblog. This is not the place for that. Thanks in advance.
   18. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:01 PM (#2061020)
That's all I'm saying, John.

Also, wrt Stolen Bases - Mays stole 338 and was caught 103 times. Aaron stole 240 and was caught 73. Both over 20 years. Mays, IMO, wasn't really that much greater of a basestealerthan Aaron - he just chose to, assumably on the design of the team or manager. Something changed in Milwaukee in 1960 whe Aaron suddenly decided to steal a lot of bases. He went from "ran rarely" to 15+ SBs for 9 seasons.

Perhaps Mays was a better baserunner, but I've always found the claim he was a much better basestealerthan Aaron to be overblown.
   19. DavidFoss Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2061035)
Six OPS+ titles, one 2nd, five 3rd's, two 4th's and a 6th. All with historically great fielding in CF and all in the "tough league".

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how many MVP's he should have won?
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2061052)
Perhaps Mays was a better baserunner, but I've always found the claim he was a much better basestealerthan Aaron to be overblown.

1) Wille had more SB (as you noted). Nobody cared about CS back then when their reputations were created.

2) Willie looked faster than everyone else who ever played the game. He could have been running in molasses and he would still look fast.
   21. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2061060)
Perhaps Mays was a better baserunner, but I've always found the claim he was a much better basestealerthan Aaron to be overblown.

Fair enough. But it is the case that:

- Being even a slightly better base stealerthan Aaron means you're a damn good base stealer.

- Relative to the league environment, Mays's base stealing advantage looks bigger. He led the league in SBs four years in a row, and was in the top 5 three other times; Aaron never led the league, and was in the top 5 only three times. In 1956 Mays stole 40 bases while the entire rest of the league combined stole 331.

Obviously in the context of everything else both Mays and Aaron did, their base stealing, while wonderful, comprises little more than a sumptious dessert on top of a gourmet feast. But who doesn't love dessert?

I've always found Mays's most impressive base stealing feat to be this: in 1971, with McCovey hurt and out of the lineup a lot, Mays (who ran completely on his own for virtually his entire career) decided it was safe to steal a few bases. So he stole 23 out of 26. At the age of 40.
   22. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2061065)
1) Wille had more SB (as you noted). Nobody cared about CS back then when their reputations were created.

Well, if they didn't, they should have.

And while it's certainly true that CS wasn't carried in Who's Who in Baseball and such, they were always included in the stat section of the Baseball Guide. And much of the awed discussion that I read as a kid about Wills's 104 steals in 1962 mentioned the fact that he'd only been thrown out 13 times, whereas Cobb had been thrown out 38 times when he stole his 96.
   23. shaftr Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#2061070)
I know Mays/Mantle is a populare debate, but my coworker and I debate between Aaron/Mays.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2061074)
Well, if they didn't, they should have.

Of course, Steve.

And while it's certainly true that CS wasn't carried in Who's Who in Baseball and such, they were always included in the stat section of the Baseball Guide. And much of the awed discussion that I read as a kid about Wills's 104 steals in 1962 mentioned the fact that he'd only been thrown out 13 times, whereas Cobb had been thrown out 38 times when he stole his 96.

The information was out there, but usually ignored. Similar to walks for offensive players. Sure, it would be mentioned, but how many BBWAA or Vets' Committee voters were taking that into account when making up their ballots?
   25. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2061075)
Chris:

The thing that changed in Milwaukee was the attitude of management. Charlie Dressen had the team running more in 1960 and that trend continued after a one year scale back under Birdie Tebbetts. Bobby Bragan had the team running and specifically challenged Hank to be more active stealing bases.

The one sensible thing about Haney was that he was concerned about Aaron getting hurt. But once a guy has established himself as being durable I think some additional risk can be taken.

One of the things I can't "prove" but believe as a fan is that some guys are just more prone to injury then others. And it doesn't matter where you put them the injuries will happen. Same with the guys who stay in the lineup. Bang'em around and come game time there they are in uniform.

Mock that completely unsupported belief at your leisure.........
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#2061085)
The one sensible thing about Haney was that he was concerned about Aaron getting hurt.

McCarthy felt the same way about DiMaggio and base stealing, as you're probably aware of.

One of the things I can't "prove" but believe as a fan is that some guys are just more prone to injury then others.

I agree, though the more durable players, IMO, consciously do the things that are needed to make injuries fewer. IOW, I don't think some players are star-crossed, while others are not. For example, if Pete Reiser had modified his playing style, he would still have been a terrific player, but with a much longer playing career.
   27. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2061086)
Sure, it would be mentioned, but how many BBWAA or Vets' Committee voters were taking that into account when making up their ballots?

Somewhere between zero and none. Point taken.
   28. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 04:01 PM (#2061087)
One of the things I can't "prove" but believe as a fan is that some guys are just more prone to injury then others. And it doesn't matter where you put them the injuries will happen. Same with the guys who stay in the lineup. Bang'em around and come game time there they are in uniform.

Mock that completely unsupported belief at your leisure.........


You'll get no mocking from me. My reading of the historical record is that differences in injury-proneness between players are very real and very significant. Not every human body is equally resistant to pulls, strains, sprains, and breaks.
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 04:08 PM (#2061090)
Not every human body is equally resistant to pulls, strains, sprains, and breaks.

That's true and really can't be argued against. For example, congenital back problems curtailed quite a few promising careers. Not much you can do to prevent that.
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 12, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2061103)
Not every human body is equally resistant to pulls, strains, sprains, and breaks.

You guys are so soft.

Juan Gonzalez doesn't have a fragility gene, he just isn't willing to play through pain because he's not a team player. He doesn't want to be tough badly enough.

And you know Danny Tartabull didn't want to be in the lineup, he just wanted to collect an easy paycheck. He's was a malingerer....


Oh, sorry everyone, for a second there I was reverting to the Philly Sportswriting indoctrination of my youth.
   31. Mefisto Posted: June 12, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2061116)
Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how many MVP's he should have won?

Most of the top 10-15 players probably "should" have won at least half a dozen, perhaps as many as 10. Pete Palmer has Mays as the best player in the league 7 times. That's a remarkable number considering his contemporaries. For some sense of comparison, Aaron led the league only twice and Frank Robinson the NL only once. Mike Schmidt led 6 times, Honus Wagner 7, Ruth 10, Hornsby 9, Musial 4, Cobb 4, and Williams 6.

I've always found Mays's most impressive base stealing feat to be this: in 1971, with McCovey hurt and out of the lineup a lot, Mays (who ran completely on his own for virtually his entire career) decided it was safe to steal a few bases. So he stole 23 out of 26. At the age of 40.

Mays was an extraordinary percentage basestealer in his 30s. He didn't run much with McCovey hitting behind him, but from 1962-71, Mays stole 114 and was caught only 26 times (81%).
   32. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2061135)
He didn't run much with McCovey hitting behind him

We've discussed this before, but hey, the thread topic is Mays, so it bears repeating.

The most entertaining sight I have ever beheld on a baseball diamond was Willie Mays leading off of first base. McCovey was generally up, and everyone in the ballpark (most certainly including the pitcher on the mound) knew that with McCovey up Mays would almost certainly not be running -- but that didn't matter.

Mays would take a ridiculous lead. A ridiculous lead. Think of the biggest lead you have ever, ever seen any runner take, and add about seven feet to it, and you're getting close to where Mays would take his lead. And he'd dance around out there, little jumps, head fakes. Probably talking trash the whole time too.

And the pitcher would look over there, and think, sh!t. I know he isn't running, and the only reason he's doing this is to get into my head. But the f@cker is in my head. And look at that idiot: he's thirty feet off the bag. I can pick him off easy. I think I will. I'll throw over there and nail that showboating SOB but good.

The pitcher would snap a throw. Mays would be instantly back on the bag, never diving, always standing up, and always safe by an eyelash. No one, including the pitcher, could believe what they'd just seen.

So this dynamic would repeat itself about eight times.

No baserunner I have ever seen since, not Brock, not Henderson, not Coleman, nobody else I have ever seen has ever done anything remotely like it.

And Mays was 35+ when I was watching him do it.
   33. Big Banjo Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2061148)
In a recent interview, Mays said he could have been the first member of the "50/50" club if he'd known it would be such a big deal. He's not the most articulate guy in the world, doesn't seem to give a lot of interviews, but I always get a kick out of watching Willie mumble about himself. Playing the game came sooo easy to the guy; talking about it: not so much.
   34. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:10 PM (#2061160)
How many unanimous number one selections has the HOM had?
   35. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:11 PM (#2061163)
Post 33:

Well, I would frame things just a tad differently. Playing the game at a level acceptable to MOST players was easy. But Mays, to his credit, pushed the envelope. The reason there are so many Willie stories is that throughout his career Willie tried to make the impossible possible. And more often then not succeeded.
   36. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:13 PM (#2061164)
He's not the most articulate guy in the world, doesn't seem to give a lot of interviews, but I always get a kick out of watching Willie mumble about himself. Playing the game came sooo easy to the guy; talking about it: not so much.

Apparently you didn't see/hear many of Mays's interviews during his playing days. He loved to be interviewed, talked a lot, relished being the center of attention, was very glib and humorous, and was an extremely shrewd self-promoter. He played the press like a violin. Almost the opposite of Aaron in this respect.
   37. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#2061170)
But Mays, to his credit, pushed the envelope. The reason there are so many Willie stories is that throughout his career Willie tried to make the impossible possible.

Yes, and one thing that Mays would sometimes bristle at were phrases like "natural talent," and how easy everything just came to him. Yes, he was gifted with tremendous tools, but he wanted people to also understand how hard he worked, at year-round conditioning (never smoked or drank, was always in phenomenal shape), and at keeping a careful book on the pitchers, where to play every hitter, and so on. Mays assumed the role of the Giants' on-field captain at a young age, and very often motioned to his fellow fielders where to position themselves, including infielders: highly unusual for a center fielder.

In 1964 he was officially named team captain, the first player of color so named in MLB.
   38. BDC Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2061176)
very glib and humorous

I have two favorite Mays quotes. One I've posted before, from the 1963 novel Danger in Center Field:

"A lot of people sometimes mention the catch I made against Vic Wertz in the '54 Series with the Indians, but I'm an optimist and I prefer to believe my best plays are still ahead of me."

The other is from one of his autobiographies, My Life In and Out of Baseball (1966):

"I don't ever want to be married to the woman who has to sew SZCZCLEBOROWSKI onto the back of somebody's uniform."

The latter is from memory and is approximate :) Both are ghostwritten (by Jeff Harris and Charles Einstein respectively) but there's an astringent wit in both that points to the same speaker ...
   39. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2061178)
What Steve alluded to but I will make more explicit for our younger readers is that African-American players then, as they do now, equated the phrase "natural talent" as a form of latent racism. As if the white players got to their level of greatness due to hard work versus just good genes.

I know that in the 50's the stories about how Mantle's father worked with Mickey were everywhere. But who now thinks that Mickey Mantle worked at his craft on a consistent basis?

Willie Mays WORKED at baseball AND played it with passion. That is a rare blend in ANY era. And we are the luckier for it.........
   40. TomH Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2061183)
Mays and MVPs:
I did an extensive study on MVP voting, part II of which is at http://www.philbirnbaum.com/, August 2004 issue. In it I show that if voters were consistent in their patterns (whethr or not we agree with their patterns), using only the players year-end stats (including team standing), Mays would have won MVPs in 1958, 1960, and 1962, in addition to the 2 he actually did win; this would give him 5. The only (1938ff) players with more 'predicted' MVPs would be Bonds and Ted Williams with 6 each.
   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2061186)
How many unanimous number one selections has the HOM had?

10 (in chronological order: Young, Wagner, Johnson, Ruth, Gehrig, Grove, DiMaggio, Williams, Musial, and Mantle) so far, Teddy. Mays will be #11 (and our first African-American).

We have 4 others (Brouthers, Mathewson, Crawford, and Hornsby) who won an "elect me" spot on everyone's ballot.
   42. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2061190)
Willie Mays WORKED at baseball AND played it with passion.

Marvelously put.
   43. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 12, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#2061207)
He played the press like a violin.

Which seems apt since it's now widely known that asked for hats that measured too small for his head.

What Steve alluded to but I will make more explicit for our younger readers is that African-American players then, as they do now, equated the phrase "natural talent" as a form of latent racism. As if the white players got to their level of greatness due to hard work versus just good genes.

I'm a youngerish reader by the standard of this discussion. As a contemporary fan, I've often complained that only the white guys are tagged as hustling players, or scrappy. Not only Eckstein, but even others like Shea Hillenbrand, whose hard work is so often commended and his scrappy character (even if it doesn't manifest as SB).

I've lonnnnnnnng wondered this question: "why aren't there scrappy/hustling black players?" I've always chalked it up to simple racism, but now Harvey has just pointed out the "natural talent" label. [note: which obviously comes from the same brand of reasoning that brought us the axioms that black people have rhythm or are "naturally talented" in the performing arts.] I hadn't really heard the natural talent label used during my own conscious lifetime, so it's interesting to hear how black athletes may have resisted it back then. Perhaps their resistance to it has led to its disuse, but the scrappy-white-guy thing remains.

I wonder if scrappy-white-guy remains because people are racist (de facto or actively), or because people who admire small ball no longer read racist overtones into it anyway?
   44. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 12, 2006 at 06:08 PM (#2061215)
Dr. C:

Fans identify with folks who play as the fan BELIEVES he would if given the chance. Lots of fans are 5'8" with no arm so when they see a David Eckstein hurl his body to and fro they think "That guy is SOOOO me". Because relative to the competition on the field Eckstein doesn't look like much. That David Eckstein could throw a ball through their gut if asked doesn't register with the fan base.

Scrappy munchkins will ALWAYS have a following until we turn into Holland where every guy looks to be 6'3". It's for a similar reason that Kirby Puckett was so adored. How many Friday night bowling league members in Apple Valley identified with some short, chunky dude? Let me kill the suspense...A LOT.

Guys like Enos Cabell and Lenny Harris did baseball an invaluable service by demonstrating that African American players had finally reached the point where players of little or no ability could have roster spots just because they were nice guys. In its own way that's progress.
   45. JPWF13 Posted: June 12, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2061231)
I know that in the 50's the stories about how Mantle's father worked with Mickey were everywhere. But who now thinks that Mickey Mantle worked at his craft on a consistent basis?


Ummm, a few old time Yankee fans?
Mantle even admitted after his playing days that he never worked out- his knee got worse and worse because he never rehabbed etc.

Mantle was a case of someone who got by on pure natural talent if there ever was one.
   46. Dizzypaco Posted: June 12, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2061246)
I'm a youngerish reader by the standard of this discussion. As a contemporary fan, I've often complained that only the white guys are tagged as hustling players, or scrappy. Not only Eckstein, but even others like Shea Hillenbrand, whose hard work is so often commended and his scrappy character (even if it doesn't manifest as SB).

I certainly agree with Eckstein, but that's for exactly the reasons pointed out by Harvey. I have never heard it said about Hillenbrand. I've seen a number of comments here, and by the Prospectus writers complaining about the way the media promotes Hillenbrand, and I'm not sure this is really going on. Hillenbrand is exactly the type of player who would have been promoted as underrated twenty five years ago, but he's just not talked about very often these days.

Of course, I could be wrong, but I haven't heard much said about him.
   47. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 12, 2006 at 06:53 PM (#2061272)
I have never heard it said about Hillenbrand.

That may be a regional thing then. I live in New England, and when he came up, the press, the radio guys were all over his scrappy, hustling, making-the-most-of-every-inch-of-talent way of going about the game. They were extremely disappointed when he left town in the trade. As were many fans who, as Harvey suggested, probably saw a lot of how they thought the game should be played in him. I had numerous conversations in the weeks after that trade defending the deal to people who had formed an image of the player that was strongly rooted in the scrappy-guy motif.

So it's possible his more current national or regional reputation might be different now.
   48. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: June 12, 2006 at 10:19 PM (#2061506)
Mantle even admitted after his playing days that he never worked out- his knee got worse and worse because he never rehabbed etc.

Mantle was a case of someone who got by on pure natural talent if there ever was one.


I wonder what Mantle's career would look like if he was a health and conditioning nut like Wagner, Musial, Mays, etc.

Considering how absurdly great Mantle was anyway, the thought fascinates me.
   49. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 10:24 PM (#2061511)
I wonder what Mantle's career would look like if he was a health and conditioning nut like Wagner, Musial, Mays, etc.

Considering how absurdly great Mantle was anyway, the thought fascinates me.


He would have been even more absurdly great, no doubt about it. But it is the case that Mantle did suffer from significant inherent physical frailties; the osteomylitis wasn't a function of poor conditioning. Certainly the party-hearty routine did his career active harm, but he was going to get hurt a lot no matter what.
   50. DavidFoss Posted: June 12, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2061557)
He would have been even more absurdly great, no doubt about it. But it is the case that Mantle did suffer from significant inherent physical frailties; the osteomylitis wasn't a function of poor conditioning. Certainly the party-hearty routine did his career active harm, but he was going to get hurt a lot no matter what.

With all this talk about his injuries, Mantle was pretty durable from 1954-61. Not absurdly so, but 144+ games per year doesn't raise any flags whatsoever. Although, there is the case of the late injuries in 55 & 61 that kept in from playing much in the World Series.

I would guess that a 'Fitness Nut Mantle' would have missed less time in 62-63 and would have had a more gradual post-64 decline, but I think it would be too much to expect him to be "better" at his peak. Granted putting a gradual decline on Mantle's career does create some gaudy career totals, but the post-30 career decline is quite common (Ott, Banks, Mathews, Foxx, Snider).
   51. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 12, 2006 at 11:46 PM (#2061579)
And when Mantle was on the field late in his career, he was still one of the best hitters in baseball. He just didn't realize it because of the offensive era in which he played. 15 years later, that .230-ish average would have been .270-ish, and he might have played another year or two, not that that would make much difference to the way we think of him.
   52. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 11:48 PM (#2061581)
With all this talk about his injuries, Mantle was pretty durable from 1954-61. Not absurdly so, but 144+ games per year doesn't raise any flags whatsoever. Although, there is the case of the late injuries in 55 & 61 that kept in from playing much in the World Series.

Well, yes, plus the injuries in '53 that limited him to 127 games. But in general, the nature of Mantle's injuries weren't that they knocked him out of the lineup for extended periods -- the broken ankle in '63 was the only one of those -- but rather that they were chronic, nagging, always lurking. The issue with Mantle's injuries isn't that they caused him to miss many games so much as it is the question of how much they inhibited his performance in the games he did play.

I would guess that a 'Fitness Nut Mantle' would have missed less time in 62-63

In '62 perhaps, but the '63 broken ankle probably couldn't have been avoided by better conditioning. It was a combination of him getting tangled up in a chain-link outfield fence, and having constitutionally brittle bones.

would have had a more gradual post-64 decline

Very likely true. Poor conditioning most emphatically shows up in how well/poorly a player ages into his 30s, as the accumulation of the long-term effects of years of good/bad habits comes a-calling. But Mantle was probably going to break down to a certain extent no matter what, because of his osteomylitis.

I think it would be too much to expect him to be "better" at his peak

I don't know about that. It isn't at all unreasonable to imagine that hangovers cost him a few HRs and several hits each year at his peak.

Granted putting a gradual decline on Mantle's career does create some gaudy career totals, but the post-30 career decline is quite common (Ott, Banks, Mathews, Foxx, Snider).

It is. The parallels between Mantle, Mathews, and Foxx in their, um, nocturnal habits are worth thinking about, though. And Banks and Snider both had bad knees (as did Mantle too, of course). Ott's post-30 decline is the hardest to explain.
   53. Steve Treder Posted: June 12, 2006 at 11:50 PM (#2061583)
15 years later, that .230-ish average would have been .270-ish, and he might have played another year or two, not that that would make much difference to the way we think of him.

Quite possibly. But it's pretty clear that he was in chronic, intense pain by that point. It's questionable just how much further he could have pushed it.
   54. Steve Treder Posted: June 13, 2006 at 12:03 AM (#2061595)
Maybe he had King Kong Keller disease.

No, Keller suffered from a deterioration in the disks in his back. Ott never had back trouble; some chronic charley horse issues in his legs in 1939, but never back trouble.

Now that I think about it, I recall reading about Ott suffering some deterioration in his eyesight. That's probably what was going on.
   55. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: June 13, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2061620)
I've lonnnnnnnng wondered this question: "why aren't there scrappy/hustling black players?" I've always chalked it up to simple racism, but now Harvey has just pointed out the "natural talent" label.

Donnie Sadler (OPS+, Career: 40) had an awfully long career for someone with zero discernible "natural talent."
   56. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2006 at 12:53 AM (#2061638)
Donnie Sadler (OPS+, Career: 40) had an awfully long career for someone with zero discernible "natural talent."

Yes, good catch! And possibly Manny Alexander until they found the PEDs in his car.

It is interesting to note that there are Latino players who get the scrappy/hustling tag. Ozzie Guillen, Luis Sojo (hmm...two glib, likeable guys who were like clubhouse mascots). But still, on the whole it's the Rex Hudlers who claim that designation.
   57. Rob_Wood Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:27 AM (#2061792)
I too have great memories of watching Willie Mays, particularly patrolling the outer garden. Willie made a few great plays in my very first game I ever attended. Of course I was a little kid at the time so they were probably fairly routine plays, especially for the great Mays. Looking back at it now, I think it was Mays's flair in making the plays. You undoubtedly remember how he loped after flyballs. Like others have said, he made every play look fun. My older brother revered Hank Aaron but I loved Willie Mays.
   58. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:36 AM (#2061798)
Quite possibly. But it's pretty clear that he was in chronic, intense pain by that point. It's questionable just how much further he could have pushed it.

Questionable to be sure, but I do recall reading him giving as the biggest reason for his retirement at that point that he felt he wasn't contributing enough. On the other hand, it's easy to imagine that assessment being an after-the-fact revision rather than his actual reasoning at the time.

By the way, is it okay if I start voting for the HOM? I leave it to the consensus to decide. I didn't start at the beginning because of how busy I was, but that's thinned out a bit. (I actually did submit a couple of ballots at various points, but I don't know if they were counted since I wasn't a regular contributor.)
   59. Paul Wendt Posted: June 13, 2006 at 04:13 AM (#2061825)
I've lonnnnnnnng wondered this question: "why aren't there scrappy/hustling black players?"
Bip Roberts. Darryl Hamilton. Lenny Randle?

I've always chalked it up to simple racism, but now Harvey has just pointed out the "natural talent" label. [note: which obviously comes from the same brand of reasoning that brought us the axioms that black people have rhythm or are "naturally talented" in the performing arts.] I hadn't really heard the natural talent label used during my own conscious lifetime, so it's interesting to hear how black athletes may have resisted it back then. Perhaps their resistance to it has led to its disuse, but the scrappy-white-guy thing remains.

Isiah Thomas & Larry Bird - only 20 years ago and you were conscious then.
"I didn't come dribbling out of the womb" and all that.


I didn't start at the beginning because of how busy I was, but that's thinned out a bit. (I actually did submit a couple of ballots at various points, but I don't know if they were counted since I wasn't a regular contributor.)

I'm sure you'll find it instructive to compare the 1978, 1938 and 1898 rolls.

Any relation to Calvert Vaux?
   60. Jeff K. Posted: June 13, 2006 at 04:21 AM (#2061827)
Lenny Randle?

I wasn't really around for most of Randle, so I don't know how he was perceived before it, but he is remembered for one thing, and one thing only.
   61. sunnyday2 Posted: June 13, 2006 at 11:51 AM (#2061899)
I hung out with Lenny Randle for a weekend once in Des Moines, which brings up another name in the scrappy category--Dave Nelson. Nelson dated a girl from my hometown and I knew Dave very well, though I haven't seen him in probably 20 years now. He and Randle were roommates for Denver when I drove Dave's girlfriend down to Des Moines for a series with the Oaks in maybe 1971?

Nelson was a great guy, by the way. Randle was a character with a capital CH, not to say he wasn't a good guy, but intense to be sure. Too bad how he is remembered.
   62. TomH Posted: June 13, 2006 at 12:04 PM (#2061903)
By the way, is it okay if I start voting for the HOM?

Vaux, by all means! As long as I can figure out your pronunciation......
   63. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 13, 2006 at 12:28 PM (#2061911)
Donnie Sadler (OPS+, Career: 40) had an awfully long career for someone with zero discernible "natural talent."


And he could still get some MLB time; he's still playing at AAA.

-- MWE
   64. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:14 PM (#2061929)
Bip Roberts.

I don't think Roberts fits. I recollect him having the malinger/malcontent label, despite his multipositional aptitude. Kind of like Kevin Mitchell lite.

Tony Phillips may have been perceived as scrappy/hustling until he started popping off and smokin' rocks (or was he snorting?).


Too bad how he is remembered.

If you mean for the punching out the manager, yeah, but he's also well known for blowing that trickler foul....
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:31 PM (#2061939)
By the way, is it okay if I start voting for the HOM? I leave it to the consensus to decide. I didn't start at the beginning because of how busy I was, but that's thinned out a bit. (I actually did submit a couple of ballots at various points, but I don't know if they were counted since I wasn't a regular contributor.)

You're more than welcome to join us, Vaux. The only thing that we ask, besides reading our Constitution, is that you give all prospective candidates a fair shot from all eras. IOW, we don't want voters to select only the guys they remember seeing personally. :-)

As long as I can figure out your pronunciation......

I'm guessing Voh.
   66. TomH Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:34 PM (#2061942)
I'm winding up research on the best defensive outfielders. Of course Mays is a big player; if you wish to argue best career value, it's either him or Speaker, not much else close.

But here's one note: Mays' best 8-yr run from my number-crunching (basically a meld of Win Shares and BP) was his age 20-27 seasons. Funny thing is, his next best 8-yr run was from ages 31 to 38! It seems he had his weaker years from ages 27 to 30, which of course looks odd at first glance. But consider this:

..yrs... playing age home park
1951-57 ....20-26.. Polo Grounds. NY
1958-59 ....27-28.. Seals Stadium SF
1960 ff ......29-on.. Candlestick... SF

Is it possible that learning the new angles, winds, etc. of his changing home parks depressed his stats in mid-career? Sure could be.
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:44 PM (#2061947)
Doc, tell me about the trickler, I don't remember that.
   68. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2006 at 02:45 PM (#2061991)
In 1981 I think Randle was on the Mariners, and there was a little trickler up the 3B line, or maybe a bunt. He was playing third and had no play on the batter-runner. So as the ball rolled, end-over-end along the line, he got down on his hands and knees to blow it foul---but without touching it with his body in any way. I think the league made a rule against it the very next day or something.

It' one of those classic blooper reels, you can see it here:

http://www.psslbaseball.com/multimedia.html

about half way, maybe 2/3 down the page under 1981.
   69. shaftr Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:06 PM (#2062017)
Mays highlights. Does anyone know where I can get some of Mays highlights? Either online or a DVD they would recommend. I think I've only seen the '54 catch.
   70. sunnyday2 Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:30 PM (#2062036)
My main memory of Lenny Randle is different. And ironic.

Dave Nelson was a buddy of mine, and I met Lenny when he and Nelson were rooming together for the Denver Bears. Nelson had already been up but was sent down to learn to play 3B (he was a 2B by trade). Randle, meanwhile, was the up and coming 2B in the Rangers (well, in 1971 it was still the Senators) system.

Well, Nelson finishes his 60 day assignment and comes back to the Rangers as a 3B. He made the all-star team as a 3B the next year ('72), and finished 2nd to Campy in SBs when Campy stole 3 on the last day of the season. Randle, by now, is the Rangers' 2B. Then in '73 they move Nelson back to 2B and in '74 Randle comes up as a 3B. then in early '75 Randle is playing some CF. And lo and behold, somebody hits a blooper into short CF and Randle runs over Nelson who sustains facial injuries but more problematic, leg injuries, and his wheels are his main asset.

Nelson was never the same player again. Randle took over at 2B and the Rangers traded Nelson to KC the following year where, reunited with manager Whitey Herzog, Nelson finishes out his career as UIF with the Royals.

Ironically both Randle and Nelson had played football. Randle at Arizona State, but Nelson was a little all-american running back as Pasadena JC, too.
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2006 at 04:34 PM (#2062093)
mental note: when it comes to basketball, always trust sunnyday2 over Dr. C.

from baseball liberry:

Lofton grew up in the projects of East Chicago, Indiana and was a four-year starter for the George Washington High School baseball team before taking his athletic talents to the University of Arizona. While he didn’t make the varsity baseball team until his junior year, he was the sixth man for the Wildcats 1988 Final Four basketball team. The following season, he started at point guard. By his graduation he owned the university’s single-season and career record for steals.

So good, but not as good as I'd claimed.

But one I made good on:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Red_Rolfe

Rolfe coached in the NBL. Here's basketball-ref's take, they only go back to 1947:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/coaches/rolfero99c.html
   72. DL from MN Posted: June 13, 2006 at 04:48 PM (#2062101)
How did a Willie Mays thread get dominated by comments on marginal utility guys?
   73. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 14, 2006 at 01:26 AM (#2062824)
Thanks for the permission, everyone. I've read the constitution before, but I'll re-read it, and of course consider players of all eras equally.

"Vaux" doesn't actually mean anything... it's just a pseudonym I adopted for internet purposes a long time ago--before I was an insane musicologist! It's pronounced the English way, though :)
   74. DavidFoss Posted: June 14, 2006 at 01:37 AM (#2062873)
Vaux, the insane musicologist

You've mentioned that you've posted here before. Did you use a different name?
   75. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 14, 2006 at 05:50 AM (#2063352)
For a long time, I was just "Vaux." Then for a few weeks after I moved I was "Vaux finally in Maryland," or something like that.

Back before the switch to the new software, I may have used another name; I don't remember now, though for the HOM I probably would have used my "real" alias.
   76. Big Banjo Posted: June 14, 2006 at 04:17 PM (#2063565)
He played the press like a violin.
To Post 36.
Say hey... we all love Willie Mays. But in the 1950s, if you could humm "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on a kazoo you could have had the sportswriters of that era in the palm of your hand.
   77. Mark Donelson Posted: June 14, 2006 at 05:11 PM (#2063631)
Yeah, Sam Thompson isn't close to the worst HOMer, IMHO. Comparing Howard to him is an argument for Howard's election to many of us.
   78. Mark Donelson Posted: June 14, 2006 at 05:11 PM (#2063634)
Whoops, wrong thread. Sorry. How did that happen?
   79. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 14, 2006 at 06:09 PM (#2063689)
Yeah, Sam Thompson isn't close to the worst HOMer, IMHO.

Really? I'm not sure I see this one. Corner outfielder with a good not great peak, low career, and probalby around the 30th best at his position

That adds up to HOVG to me...but I wasn't around for that vote. He's Mike Tiernan with cache.

The All Sam Thompsonish Team
C---Thurman Munson
1B--Don Mattingly
2B--Chuck Knoblauch
3B--Denny Lyons
SS--Jim Fregosi
LF--Bobby Veach
CF--Kirby Puckett
RF--Mike Tiernan
DH--Hack Wilson
P---Lefty Gomez
MGR-Sam Thompson!

Interestingly, Frank Howard is my 30th in LF, so he could easily be on this list, which is to say the comparison is apt, but to me it means Howard's not a great candidate.
   80. Steve Treder Posted: June 14, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#2063696)
To Post 36.
Say hey... we all love Willie Mays. But in the 1950s, if you could humm "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on a kazoo you could have had the sportswriters of that era in the palm of your hand.


Apparently Ted Williams was tone deaf. Hank Aaron wasn't much of a musician either, I guess.
   81. Mark Donelson Posted: June 14, 2006 at 07:07 PM (#2063737)
The All Sam Thompsonish Team

Well, I'm not so big on "best at position" analysis, so this doesn't do so much for me (and you and I were doing so well, agreeing on Wilhelm!). I find Veach and Gomez and Wilson and especially Thompson to stick out among that group significantly, far better than the rest.

(And Mattingly was my favorite player when I was a kid, but I don't expect to vote for him here. Though you never know, haven't actually crunched the numbers yet.)

I should probably take another look at Tiernan. :)

Don't get me wrong--Thompson's clearly bottom-tier. But I can see him being there, whereas guys like Carey seem far, far less explicable (from my peak-heavy perspective).
   82. sunnyday2 Posted: June 14, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2063789)
A lot of pretty high OPS+ players on Doc's HoVG team. But of course OPS obscures a lot of qualities that we look for in a player. Gimme a minute, I'll think of one.
   83. Rick A. Posted: June 14, 2006 at 11:43 PM (#2064069)
That adds up to HOVG to me...but I wasn't around for that vote. He's Mike Tiernan with cache.

Well I was around. And he's still behind Mike Tiernan on my lists (although neither will be on my ballot again.)
   84. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 15, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#2064327)
Win Shares shows Tiernan and Thompson as being very similar. But WARP likes Thompson a lot more.

I don't think Thompson is the worst HoMer, but even if he is, so what - someone has to be. And comparing a candidate favorably to anyone in the Hall of Merit has to be a point in his favor, not against.
   85. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 15, 2006 at 01:59 AM (#2064375)
The difference BTW, been WARP and WS on Tiernan/Thompson is defense. WARP like's Thompson's defense A LOT more than Tiernan's, it has them basically equal as hitters, Thompson very slightly ahead. I'd agree with that, Thompson had a lot more power (about .040 more SLG relative to park/league), Tiernan a little more OBP (.009) and speed (about 200 more SB).

The difference is that in WARP, Thompson is 86 FRAA, Tiernan -74. That's a massive difference. WS sees them as close defensively, Tiernan 31.0, Thompson 28.4.

Not offering any opinion, just the facts as WARP and WS see them . . .
   86. Big Banjo Posted: June 15, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2064868)
To Post 82.
Say hey... we all love Willie Mays. But in the 1950s, if you could humm "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on a kazoo you could have had the sportswriters of that era in the palm of your hand.

Apparently Ted Williams was tone deaf. Hank Aaron wasn't much of a musician either, I guess.

Might as well take this music metaphor and pile drive it into oblivion. We all know the Splendid Splinter was a World Class jerk-off when he was a player. Not only was he not interested in playing the kazoo, he was more than willing to shove it up any number of sportswriter's a##es at the time- just his nature. Hank Aaron, on the other hand, was (and is) by most accounts a decent enought fellow. He just happened to play rightfield in baseball Siberia (Milwaukee) and wasn't one to crave the spotlight, if there'd been one to crave. Hank, like Jackie Robinson, was never one to charm the white media with little Bojangle-esque quotes. (You know, calling their manager "Mista Leo," starting every phrase with "Say, hey") I'm not saying Willie was a bad guy or an idiot, but we need not make him out to be W.E.B. Du Bois or Stephen Hawking, (or Horatio Alger, for that matter), to appreciate him. He was a baseball player with physical gifts nearly unmatched by anyone in history. The moment he stepped on a diamond- he was the best guy on the field. Period. No adjustment time needed at minor league Trenton or Minneapolis (and only 150 game adjustment period at the MLB level, if you consider 24 HR and 91 RBI a slow start for the kid, with a military jaunt sandwiched in there). He was just dominant, dominant, dominant from the starting block. I don't know that he "played" the media like a violin, I'm not convinced he had to work at his game any harder than anyone else, but I am convinced he was one of the greatest players of all time. And when he mumbles that he could have been the first (and only) member of the 50/50 club, I believe him.
   87. Steve Treder Posted: June 15, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2064894)
Hank Aaron, on the other hand, was (and is) by most accounts a decent enought fellow. He just happened to play rightfield in baseball Siberia (Milwaukee) and wasn't one to crave the spotlight, if there'd been one to crave.

Well, yes. Which is another way of saying that Aaron didn't play up to the press the way Mays did, and which is also another way of saying that despite being a decent enough fellow as well as a stupendous player, Aaron didn't have the sportswriters of that era in the palm of his hand.

I'm not saying Willie was a bad guy or an idiot, but we need not make him out to be W.E.B. Du Bois or Stephen Hawking, (or Horatio Alger, for that matter), to appreciate him.

Fully agreed. No one is doing this, however.

Hank, like Jackie Robinson, was never one to charm the white media with little Bojangle-esque quotes. (You know, calling their manager "Mista Leo," starting every phrase with "Say, hey") ... I don't know that he "played" the media like a violin

Then what is it you would call charming the white media with Bojangle-esque quotes, exactly?

not convinced he had to work at his game any harder than anyone else

Whether Mays had to work damn hard at his game, it is a fact that he did work damn hard at his game. His exceptional career-long performance didn't just happen easily or naturally.

I am convinced he was one of the greatest players of all time.

I'm absolutely certain no one would disagree with this at all.

Look, the issue isn't that Mays was a clown, nor that he was a saint, or anything like that. He was and is a three-dimensional person, with complexities and strengths and faults and all, just like everyone else.

All of these things are true:

- Mays was a tremendously gifted athlete.

- Mays worked very hard at conditioning, training, and continuously studying the game, and thus got the absolute maximum out of his toolset.

- Mays enjoyed interplaying with the media, liked the spotlight, and demonstrated deft skill at developing and nurturing his very positive public image through the press.
   88. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2006 at 05:16 PM (#2064918)
Post 88:

As someone who has watched a lot of ballplayers the number who worked at the game HARDER then Mays is a LOT G*DDAMN shorter then the ones who DID NOT.

Which is one of the reasons he WAS dominant.
   89. Mefisto Posted: June 15, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2064973)
Hank, like Jackie Robinson, was never one to charm the white media with little Bojangle-esque quotes. (You know, calling their manager "Mista Leo,"

I assume everyone understands that this wasn't artifice on Mays's part for the benefit of the media. It's pretty much what a black man growing up in AL in the 30s and 40s might be expected (by whites) to do. Not that all did it, of course, but many did as coping mechanism. In the same sense, we might consider Aaron's quiet and almost self-effacing personality to be a natural and common response to that environment.
   90. Steve Treder Posted: June 15, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2064991)
I assume everyone understands that this wasn't artifice on Mays's part for the benefit of the media.

Of course. Nor was Mays's general ebullience an act; that's pretty clearly what his personality was.

It's nevertheless clear that Mays quickly learned how to cultivate relationships with sportswriters in a manner that Aaron certainly didn't do when he was young, and to a large extent never did.
   91. OCF Posted: June 15, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2065045)
Just so all of the outsiders understand - by the very structure of our project, it's beyond our capacity to really recognize Willie Mays. Is he sufficiently qualified for the HoM? Yes - and according to a sufficient plurality of our voters, so is Richie Ashburn. Is he obviously, easily qualified, and should be be elected immediately by a wide margin? Yes, of course - and so was Roberto Clemente. Willie Mays will be a unanimous #1 selection and Ty Cobb wasn't? That doesn't mean anything - the 1979 ballot has no on it to compare to Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, John Henry Lloyd and Joe Williams.

It would have been entertaining to have played fast and loose with years of retirement and produced a year in which the first-time eligibles were Mays, Aaron, F. Robinson, Clemente, Banks, and Gibson.
   92. karlmagnus Posted: June 15, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2065070)
OCF, Mays would have won it on my ballot. I'd have him #5 all time, behind only Cobb, Ruth, Williams and Wagner, and well ahead of Aaron and Mantle (without losing 2 years to Korea, he not Hank might own the HR record.)
   93. DavidFoss Posted: June 15, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2065125)
(without losing 2 years to Korea, he not Hank might own the HR record.)

It would be very close. If he did hit 715, I don't think there is any way he would have gotten to 755.

Imagine what 1973 would have been like. Hank still had his home run stroke and finished the year with 713 and the elder Mays -- in his last season -- would also be trying to get those last few homers. What a race that would have been.
   94. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 15, 2006 at 07:39 PM (#2065226)
What a race that would have been.

Yeah a more exciting version of Dave Kingman and Mike Schmidt racing for #500---oh, hey, that didn't happen? I'll try again.

A more exciting version of Canseco and McGriff going blast for blast to #500! No? Shucks...

Oh, oh, a more exciting version of Bagwell, Sheffield, and Thomas jockeying to be the first to #500!!!!! Aw, consarnit, I give up! ; )
   95. Steve Treder Posted: June 19, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2068428)
It would be very close. If he did hit 715, I don't think there is any way he would have gotten to 755.

Imagine what 1973 would have been like. Hank still had his home run stroke and finished the year with 713 and the elder Mays -- in his last season -- would also be trying to get those last few homers. What a race that would have been.


My estimate
here has Mays finishing 1973 with 719. Yes, that would have been pretty exciting.

I also have the no-war Williams finishing 1960 with 709. Think he would have retired?
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 19, 2006 at 05:13 PM (#2068474)
I also have the no-war Williams finishing 1960 with 709. Think he would have retired?

:-)
   97. Mefisto Posted: June 19, 2006 at 05:16 PM (#2068478)
My estimate
here has Mays finishing 1973 with 719. Yes, that would have been pretty exciting.

I also have the no-war Williams finishing 1960 with 709. Think he would have retired?

I've used several different approaches to try to estimate Mays's total for the missing years. I made one which had him at 713 at the end of 1973. Imagine what 1974 would have been like with Aaron and Mays tied at that figure!
   98. Steve Treder Posted: June 19, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2068481)
Of course, it may be a bit of a moot point, since my estimate in this article has Ruth finishing with 744 ...
   99. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 19, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2068514)
Without Mays' military service, my domino estimate has the North Korean hordes winning the war, overrunning the United States, and criminalizing the national pastime. This gives us a very different Willie Mays with just 24 career home runs, but several tae kwan do champonships.
   100. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 19, 2006 at 07:12 PM (#2068579)
Without Mays' military service, my domino estimate has the North Korean hordes winning the war, overrunning the United States, and criminalizing the national pastime. This gives us a very different Willie Mays with just 24 career home runs, but several tae kwan do champonships.

My simulations indicate no Tae Kwan Do championships, but instead with Mays winning 17 straight kung fu championships---the puny Korean army hadn't enough soliders to overrun anything south of Seoul...but the trailing Chinese forces had plenty of men!
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